MEDIA PREPARATION (Part 1) WRITING A PRESS RELEASE
“A press release should be as much about you as a writer”
A press release is a single-page document about a news item or product that has been specifically prepared, written and issued to the media to make known to the public; succinct and to the point. Although this sounds intimidating, it’s not.
Brevity is absolute to writing a successful press release while ensuring it remains articulate, lucid and unambiguous in no more than 200 words or roughly 30 lines.
It’s all about information, information, information so a press release should include:
The title of the book
The author’s name
A clear image of the front cover
A brief synopsis of the book
The ISBN number
The retail price and, finally, all contact information including the author’s phone number, email, website and Skype addresses.
Remember – never trust the media to know what you mean because they won’t. It’s up to the author to prepare a 200 word A4 document with as much attention to detail as he would a 50,000 word manuscript or more. Do not be afraid to redraft as many times as necessary.
The framework of a press release should follow the same principle of writing a short story in that there has to be a beginning, middle and end. Every detail in a press release is about communication, which means presentation is absolute in getting the message across in the most efficient way possible. Remember, every consideration to detail counts including any other writing credits.
Writing is about confidence; if an author is sufficiently self-assured to write a multi-page manuscript an agent could sell, a publisher would print and the public will buy, then that same self-determination to get the media behind the book through your press release will make it happen.
Next time: Media Preparation part 2.
Thanks for a very useful post. I’ve often heard the advice that you should think of journalists as lazy – in the sense that you should not make them work any harder than they absolutely need to. I think that makes prefect sense. Even in my humble blog, if I have to choose between two guest posts, one of which has everything I need laid out clearly and one that’s a mess, guess which one I’ll post.
I usually send out 2-page press releases though, since I also like to include a short bio and contact links for me. I put these on a separate page, to clearly distinguish between the book and the author.